Monday, April 23, 2018
Business

Book Swap in Carrollwood unites readers

CARROLLWOOD — One book store belongs to a major retailer with locations from coast to coast.

The other is an independent boutique representing a dream that came true for a lifelong Tampa woman.

Somehow Book Swap owner Cynthia Floyd has carved out a successful existence within 100 yards of book giant Barnes & Noble at Carrollwood's Main Street Plaza.

Floyd worked for the Hillsborough County Water Department as a business analyst when she entertained the idea of starting her own bookstore.

"I have thought about owning a bookstore since my early 20s, but it wasn't until about 10 years ago that I decided to pursue it," said Floyd, 54. "I gave myself one year and $2,000 to research it, and during that time I found out that the Book Swap was for sale and decided to purchase it rather than start a new business."

Eight years and one relocation later, Floyd continues to welcome readers in the plaza at 11738 N Dale Mabry Highway after moving from her previous spot a mile north at the Village Plaza.

"Reading has always been my passion," she says. "I can still remember going to the North Tampa Library on a field trip from Carrollwood Elementary and getting my first library card. The awe I felt when I got my first card was overwhelming.

"I felt like a door was opened to me that has never closed."

The front door at Book Swap opens frequently as customers stream in and out. A mix of new books and old is at the crux of how Book Swap does it business. People come in with bags and boxes full of books, which can be traded in for store credit and used to purchase either used or new books.

Floyd admits to having a few bad months but also noted she's benefited from the improved visibility of her current location. The growth in foot traffic at Book Swap also reflects a larger trend.

According to a report from the Association of American Publishers, e-book sales decreased by 10 percent in the first five months of 2015, and now represent just 20 percent of the book market — the same figure as a few years ago. Meanwhile, the American Booksellers Association had 1,712 member stores in 2,227 locations last year, a solid increase from 1,410 stores in 1,660 locations five years earlier.

"The fact that the digital side of the business has leveled off has worked to our advantage," American Booksellers chief executive Oren Teicher told the New York Times. "It's resulted in a far healthier independent bookstore market today than we have had in a long time."

At Book Swap, customers say Floyd's personal touch also helps.

"I love the atmosphere of Book Swap," said Debra Wear, a Gaither High assistant teacher who has shopped at Book Swap since 2009. "Cynthia is wonderful. She goes out of her way to satisfy customers and can find any book I am looking for."

Wear enjoys a variety of genres and especially loves the work of novelist John Grisham, but legal thrillers aren't the only things that keep luring her back.

She stops in Thursday evenings at 6:30, when Book Swap holds coloring book night. Wear, along with her daughter Maryleigh and several others, enjoys getting together to chat, share refreshments, and indulge in the artistic outlet of adult coloring books.

"I love this coloring book thing," says Cheryl Malette, a retiree from Colchester, Vermont. "The group has everyone from 14-year-old girls to middle-aged women to older ladies. It's a great way to spend an hour and a half."

Malette, who visits Book Swap two to three times a week, says Floyd can look up virtually any book, old or new, and order it for her.

"I use Google all the time trying to find certain books and can't find them anywhere," Malette said. "But somehow Cynth pulls them up on her computer — I can't find them the way she does.

"It's just a wonderful place," Malette added.

Contact Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez at [email protected]

Comments
Armed Forces History Museum collection has a new home, but new owner is a mystery

Armed Forces History Museum collection has a new home, but new owner is a mystery

LARGO — The contents of the Armed Forces History Museum have been sold, but no one is ready to talk about the future of the collection of military memorabilia.A collector named John Piazza used his personal collection to start the public museum, whic...
Published: 04/24/18
Work starting on JW Marriott, but Water Street Tampa expects to have 10 buildings under way within a year

Work starting on JW Marriott, but Water Street Tampa expects to have 10 buildings under way within a year

TAMPA — Water Street Tampa marks the start of construction Tuesday on its first building, the posh JW Marriott hotel, but there’s a lot more to come.And soon.Within a year, developers said Monday, construction should be underway on 10 — 10! — of Wate...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Sears in Clearwater’s Countryside Mall to close in mid-July

Sears in Clearwater’s Countryside Mall to close in mid-July

CLEARWATER — The Westfield Countryside Mall Sears will close in mid-July as part of Sears Holdings’ latest store cuts, bringing the number of shuttering Kmarts and Sears to nearly 200.The store’s liquidation sale will begin on Friday, according to Se...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa draws praise, criticism at penalty hearing

Foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa draws praise, criticism at penalty hearing

CLEARWATER — Homeowners from as far away as Texas and North Carolina crowded a Pinellas County courtroom Monday in support of embattled foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa. Facing possible disbarment for professional misconduct, Stopa also drew s...
Published: 04/23/18
Tampa workers accuse General Dynamics unit of underpaying

Tampa workers accuse General Dynamics unit of underpaying

TAMPA — The Tampa call center of a federal contractor is being accused of underpaying its employees. Workers for General Dynamics Information Technology filed wage theft complaints with the Department of Labor Monday, calling for an investigation int...
Published: 04/23/18
With lights from Toys R Us dimmed, sales plunge at Hasbro

With lights from Toys R Us dimmed, sales plunge at Hasbro

Associated PressNEW YORK — With its sales falling due to the liquidation of Toys R Us, Hasbro is looking for new places to sell Monopoly, My Little Pony and its other toys. Hasbro said Monday it will rely more on online sales, although it has also be...
Published: 04/23/18
Sears’ biggest shareholder offers to buy Kenmore brand

Sears’ biggest shareholder offers to buy Kenmore brand

Associated PressNEW YORK — Sears’ biggest shareholder appears to be pushing for a breakup of the 125-year-old company that has survived two world wars and the Great Depression. Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert — whose hedge fund has forwarded millions...
Published: 04/23/18
Lucky’s Market hosting job fairs in St. Petersburg ahead of June opening

Lucky’s Market hosting job fairs in St. Petersburg ahead of June opening

ST. PETERSBURG — Job fairs to fill more than 100 jobs open at Tampa Bay’s first Lucky’s Market start this week, the organic grocer announced on Monday. The grocery store, located at 6765 22nd Ave. N, is hosting hiring fairs Monday through Friday unti...
Published: 04/23/18
Swimmer Michael Phelps to headline Crystal Lagoon grand opening Saturday

Swimmer Michael Phelps to headline Crystal Lagoon grand opening Saturday

WESLEY CHAPEL — Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps will splash down Saturday at the Crystal Lagoon in Wesley Chapel’s Epperson development.Phelps, a global ambassador for Crystal Lagoons, will appear at the grand opening of the first Crystal Lagoon...
Published: 04/23/18
Big visitor calls at Port Tampa Bay

Big visitor calls at Port Tampa Bay

TAMPA — The 750-foot-long Ireland, one of the biggest cargo vessels ever to call at Port Tampa Bay, arrived Sunday.The Ireland is on its inaugural voyage, having left a shipyard in China for a stop in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula to pick up 64,865 shor...
Published: 04/23/18